While I was in the US I read Brian McLarens latest book, Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, And A Revolution Of Hope. Last Friday I got to chat with Brian a little bit after the CPW service, so I thought it was time I shared some thoughts from the book.

In Everything Must Change, McLaren addresses global issues of security, justice, and prosperity, and suggests that the way in which we live pulls us into a suicidal system which needs to change. The book addresses a myriad of topics, such as global warming, patriotism, and economic poverty. Personally, I didn’t find this to be a ‘life-changing’ book, but I reckon it would be an excellent introduction for someone who wants to learn more about these issues, and as such I enjoyed it.

Some thoughts…

“Other societies work on what we will call theocapitalist narratives, which mythologize markets and their products with a divine power to bring happiness.”

This one really struck me, as it put words what I’ve felt for a long time now. I’d never heard it called theocapitalist before, and will probably do some research to try find out a bit more about this idea.

“Politically, we produce and sell weapons in unimaginable numbers, and then we tax the profits to build defenses against those to whom we sold the weapons. We build an economy of war in hopes that it will produce for us a world of peace.”

Brian talks a lot about the politics and economics of war in the book, which I don’t feel I can make too much comment on as a non-American, but some of the quotes and statistics he shared were scary. This one seems to sum it up for me – building an economy of war in hopes of peace. It is striking that the top 5 countries in weapons manufacturing are also the same 5 countries who are permanent members of the UN Security Council… ironic?

“It is only when we can imagine the world to be different than the way it is that we can be empowered to embody this alternative reality which is God’s kingdom and resist this present nightmare of brokenness, disorientation and confusion… A liberated imagination is a prerequisite for facing the future… If we cannot have such a liberated imagination and cannot countenance such radical dreams, then the story remains closed for us and we have no hope.”

[Brian Walsh & John Middleton]

“Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favour of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.”

[Dietrich Bonhoeffer]